Cleaning and asthma: A systematic review and approach for effective safety assessment
Research indicates a correlative relationship between asthma and use of consumer cleaning products. We conduct a systematic review of epidemiological literature on persons who use or are exposed to cleaning products, both in occupational and domestic settings, and risk of asthma or asthma-like symptoms to improve understanding of the causal relationship between exposure and asthma. A scoring method for assessing study reliability is presented. Although research indicates an association between asthma and the use of cleaning products, no study robustly investigates exposure to cleaning products or ingredients along with asthma risk. This limits determination of causal relationships between asthma and specific products or ingredients in chemical safety assessment. These limitations, and a lack of robust animal models for toxicological assessment of asthma, create the need for a weight-of-evidence (WoE) approach to examine an ingredient or product's asthmatic potential. This proposed WoE method organizes diverse lines of data (i.e., asthma, sensitization, and irritation information) through a systematic, hierarchical framework that provides qualitatively categorized conclusions using hazard bands to predict a specific product or ingredient's potential for asthma induction. This work provides a method for prioritizing chemicals as a first step for quantitative and scenario-specific safety assessments based on their potential for inducing asthmatic effects. Acetic acid is used as a case study to test this framework.